This is an archived article. For the latest news, go to the Advance Homepage.
For more archives, go to the Advance Archive/Search Page

Academics benefit from record fund-raising year

Academic programs at the University of Connecticut have benefited from a 72 percent increase in private gifts during fiscal year 1997, according to Edward T. Allenby, president of the UConn Foundation and vice president for institutional advancement at the University. The gifts were part of the $19.8 million in gifts from private sources received by the UConn Foundation during the period July 1, 1996, through June 30, 1997, an increase of 48 percent over the $13.3 million received in fiscal year 1996.

While every college and school at UConn gained from the generosity of donors, the largest increases in academic fund raising were recorded by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Institute of Materials Science, and the Schools of Allied Health, Fine Arts and Law, each of which doubled their gift receipts in fiscal year 1997.

The year's fund-raising success continues a trend that began in 1994, when the University made a significant commitment to expand efforts to raise funds from private sources. A new agreement with The University of Connecticut Foundation, Inc. that year recognized the Foundation as the primary organization to coordinate fund-raising activities for the University and to manage those funds for the maximum benefit of the University. Since then, fund-raising results have demonstrated dramatic and steady growth, having more than doubled from the fiscal year 1995 total of $8.2 million.

"Our fund-raising success can be attributed directly to the outstanding collaboration between University officials, deans, directors and department heads, and the Foundation's development officers," said Allenby. "The integration of the Foundation's fund-raising expertise with knowledge of the institution's greatest needs and wants has helped present a compelling case to donors."

Academic programs at the University's Storrs and regional campuses were not the only areas posting increases in fund raising. Gifts for the Health Center and the University's athletic program also posted significant gains, with increases of 47 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

Unrestricted and restricted gifts to non-endowed funds increased 6 percent during the 1997 fiscal year, while gifts to endowment experienced a spectacular gain, increasing 124 percent over the same period last year, to $10.6 million from $4.7 million. Endowment funds are used for support of such donor-designated projects and University needs as undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, professorships and academic programs; and, the purchase of such items as computer equipment, library volumes and research materials.

"Gifts to endowment are an important source of perpetual income for the University and a necessary complement to state funding and student tuition," Allenby said. "They provide a lasting source of funds because we invest the principal permanently, while using the income from these gifts for purposes designated by the donors in support of University priorities.

"The generosity of our alumni and other friends of the University has been overwhelming," he added. "Encouraged by the State's UConn 2000 matching gifts program, donors have shown unprecedented levels of support."

During fiscal year 1997, the Foundation received 98 gifts of $25,000 or greater, including five gifts of $500,000 or more from individuals: $1.77 million from Harold Schwenk Jr. and Paula Schwenk '79 MA, for the chemistry department; $701,000 for the Health Center from Charles, Alice and Cheryl Heilig;!$529,000 for the Health Center from Helen Waichen Rogow; $503,000 for the School of Business Administration from Robert Cizik; and $500,000 for the School of Education from Ray Neag '57 and his late wife, Lynn Neag.

UConn 2000 includes $20 million in state funds to match endowment gifts of $25,000 or more over a three-year period that began January 1, 1996. At June 30, 1997, the UConn 2000 dollar-for-dollar match had been fully subscribed, after just 18 months. In addition, initial commitments already have been secured against the further matching opportunity approved by the General Assembly in June, which will provide one dollar for every two dollars raised from private sources, up to a total of $52.5 million during the next eight years.

Charlene Tappan

Charlene Tappan is director of communications for the University of Connecticut Foundation Inc.